We have been staying at the Istituto San Lodovico, a convent and former women’s school connected to the church of San Lodovico. Today it is run by the Sisters of Compagnia di Maria of Our Lady Santa Giovanna di Lestonnac (Saint Jeanne de Lestonnac) as a nursery school and guest house.
A large iron gate opens onto a peaceful courtyard with a rose garden.
Meals are served in a bright and airy room where light streams through high windows and tasty homemade lunches are delivered to our table.
(We thought we would be sharing our breakfasts with a group of papal scholars, but they turned out to be poplar scholars and we had to teach them to bus their dishes. They provided us with plenty to speculate about and a few good laughs.)
We edit our photos in the “photo chapel” under brightly painted ceilings.
In the evening we gather in a cozy meeting space dubbed the “screening room” to review the day’s work. (Were we allowed to bring a bottle of wine, it would definitely be the best part of the day, but even so, it’s wonderful to stop for awhile and see everyone’s best shots from the day and reflect a not only on our work, but on the day itself.)
Another great space is the open, covered rooftop patio around the corner from our room. It provides beautiful views of the city, but we quickly learned to watch that no one locks us up there! (Thanks for the lesson, Chris!)
There is also another floor above our room, an open space that houses the laundry room. Despite the modern appliances, it is pretty rustic.
But today Sister Giovanna has a special treat for us: a tour of the spaces below and behind the public areas we’ve been using.
Sister Giovanna guides us through the dark spaces (taking away the flashlight she gave us when we don’t aim it in the right spot and using it herself) , explaining what we are seeing in long paragraphs of carefully paced Italian, confident that we understand even as Maury struggles to translate for us. We understand enough.